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Bridge analysis goes long range

Rust on iron

Spectral and 3D imaging could provide important information about the physical and chemical damage to bridges.

Nottingham Trent University and Opus International Consultants have developed a system called RustScan that will allow bridge analysis to take place from up to 100m away. Pylons, culverts, station canopies, roof structures and tunnel linings could also be analysed with the system. 

The technology builds on an existing system used to monitor degradation on large-scale wall paintings. Red ochre, used to produce paint, shares a common property with rust – iron oxide. 

“There is currently no technology that combines 3D and spectral imaging in one instrument in this way,” said Haida Liang, head of the Imaging and Sensing for Archaeology, Art History and Conservation research group at Nottingham Trent University.

“Remote simultaneous 3D and spectral imaging will provide direct identification of surface rust and corrosion. The technology will also be able to provide a time-specific record of the condition of the bridge for future comparison with later scans – in addition to assisting in the development of an appropriate maintenance programme for the bridge,” added Liang, who is based in the university’s School of Science and Technology. 

The £500,000 project is jointly funded through Innovate UK and Opus International Consultants. 

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